Hilarity at Hoxton Hall

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Hoxton Hall
Samantha Baines speaking at Funny Women Awards; photo credit: Nishat Ahmed

Stand-up comics and entertainers brought the laughs to Hoxton Hall last Friday in the London heat of this year’s Funny Women Awards, described by its organisers ‘as the UK’s leading female comedy community’. Past winners include Zoe Lyons, Andi Osho and Harriet Braine.

Amusing anecdotes and quirks of everyday life were all part of the act for the night and jokes touched on the comedians’ own life experiences, from the profound to the prosaic.

Hosted by award-winning actress and comedian, Samantha Baines – as seen in British dramas The Crown and Call the Midwife – the evening saw a wealth of talented stand-ups, impressionists, sketch groups and character acts. Glory Pearl, a self-confessed burlesque maverick and naked stand up, gave a ten minute reading of her observations on women’s lives.

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Founder of Funny Women, Lynne Parker, describes the setting up of this comedy community as her life’s work. The competition, now in its 14th year, boasts Canadian comic Katherine Ryan among its former winners and Sarah Millican was a runner-up in 2005.

The 15 contestants will have to wait until the end of November to find out their marks, as heats are ongoing. The final will be held at Hoxton Hall in February next year, when the overall winner will be chosen.

Scorecard for Funny Women night
Funny Women Awards judging sheet; photo credit: Nishat Ahmed

Ms Parker said: “I created the awards in 2003 and over the last 15 years they have helped to shape the future of female comedy. Our very first competition showcased around 70 acts for one award, this year we’ve attracted over 500 entries for four awards encompassing live performance, comedy writing short films and best show.”

The regional finals are being judged by industry bloggers and promoters, who mark each act out of five for material, stage presence, delivery and originality.

Lynne Parker added: “The added bonus of being able to stage one of our many heats and the forthcoming London and South East regional finals at incredible historic venues like Hoxton Hall really is the icing on the cake.”